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Sunday, 28 June 2015 23:20 By Patrick Kagenda
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Chris Okumu Opoka is a Uganda member of the East African Legislative Assembly from the opposition UPC party. Before going to EALA he was Secretary General of UPC during the Maama Miria Obote presidency. He spoke to The Independent’s Patrick Kagenda.

You have never attended a UPC press briefing ever since you left for the EALA, what brings you here now? What is your take on what is happening in UPC today?

You are right to say I have not been attending UPC press briefings. I am normally not around but today I am here because of what is taking place in my party. We have a newly elected party president yet to be confirmed and I had to attend his inaugural press briefing. What is happening in the party is something we all have been waiting for, that is having a unanimously endorsed party president by the district conferences and making him the sole candidate for the party.

The outgoing party president  Olara Otunnu and some of the party presidency race contenders are contesting Akena`s win in the primaries, won`t this return the party to courts of law as the case has been during the last five years of Otunnu`s tenure?

Otunnu set up this program single handedly. He is the one who appointed the coordinators in the districts and appointed the party electoral commission. The coordinators in the districts sent results here at headquarters which were verified and sent to the electoral commission and the electoral commission declared them and now Otunnu is disputing that, how can that be? The people in the districts held a free and fair elections. The very same thing that Otunnu has been yearning for. His pet agenda in Uganda is only about free and fair elections no other program, only free and fair elections. Well, Otunnu has carried out a free and fair election, he might not be pleased with the outcome because the person he wanted is not the person that won.

 
Sunday, 28 June 2015 22:43 By Haggai Matsiko
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Who is winning on social media?

No Ugandan presidential candidate has created as much activity on social media as former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi who in a June 15 YouTube video announced his intention to stand against the incumbent, President Yoweri Museveni in the 2016 elections. His campaign poster for the 2016 polls—yellow poster with his portrait and words, Amama16, Go Forward, uploaded the night before had already garnered 500 comments on Facebook, the following day.

The 66-year old former Prime Minister, who has been a subject of massive speculation since he was sacked from his two positions—Prime Minister and ruling party Secretary General—at the end of last year, having served in Museveni’s government for as many years as it has existed, is the most trending subject both in Uganda’s mainstream and social media.

 
Sunday, 21 June 2015 21:36 By Haggai Matsiko
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Members of The Democratic Alliance coalition proudly show off the document they signed on June 10 in Kampala. NET PHOTOCan Besigye, Bukenya, Mbabazi, Muntu work together?

The morning after about 98 percent of the top contenders against President Museveni launched a coalition dubbed The Democratic Alliance (TDA) on June 10, there was a lot of excitement among hundreds of supporters gathered at Hotel Africana in Kampala. Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister for Presidency immediately took to his Face Book.He said there was nothing new with the coalition.

The fact that an alliance is formed on an adhoc basis only aiming at fighting an individual called President Museveni without any other substantive and principle driven interests for the parties to coalesce on, makes their whole move hollow,” he wrote, “They did it last elections with IPC but it even collapsed before the campaigns could end. Elections are not worn by schemes and conspiracies but rather by superior ideas sold in manifestos.”

 
Sunday, 21 June 2015 21:33 By Edgar Tushabe Muhairwe
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Hon. Nandala Mafabi (L) being sworn in as the new Secretary General for FDC at Nanjjanakumbi on June 15. INDEPENDENT/JIMMY SIYASurge of activists at FDC Delegates’ Conference worries moderates

Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party president, retired Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu, knows how to say the right things at the right time. This skill was on test on June 12 in Kampala when the FDC held its Special National Delegates’ Conference.

The special conference, which chose party leaders for the next five years, will be critical to how FDC behaves in the run-up to the 2016 national elections. The new leaders will also be part of the Electoral College that elects the party flag bearer for the 2016 presidential race sometime in September.

 
Sunday, 14 June 2015 22:57 By Flavia Nassaka
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2016 general elections could record the lowest voter turnout ever

According to the latest revised roadmap for the 2016 general elections, the polling date for the President and Members of Parliament has been set for February 12, 2016. While that might be certain, what is now worrying analysts is the growing horde of voters who have shunned the polling stations since 1996.  If this persists, the preparations being made by the EC at a colossal amount of money could go to waste as people stay away from the polling booths.

An estimation made by the Electoral Commission (EC) indicates that up to 15 million Ugandans will be eligible to cast their vote in the elections.  As the EC has not yet come out with the final voters’ register, this estimation was based on the National ID card project data, which captured details of Ugandans aged 16 and above in a mass registration exercise conducted between April and September last year.

The current 15 million eligible voters represent an increase of one million from the 14 million people who were registered to vote in 2011. Since 1996 when Uganda held its first general elections after the war that brought President Yoweri Museveni’s NRM to power, voter turnout has seen a worrying downward trend, which has been attributed to various reasons. According to International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance data, 72.6% of the 8.4 million Ugandans who registered cast their vote in 1996. In the 2001 elections, 70% of the 10.7 million turned up whereas in 2006 69% of 10.4 million registered voters turned out to vote. In 2011, the turnout slumped even further to just 59% of the 14 million eligible voters. It could only get even worse in 2016. Experts put the number of those who might opt to stay away from the polling stations to have increased by over 80% despite the fact that the number of eligible voters has been increasing.

 

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